The eradication of feral cats (Felis catus) from Little Barrier Island, New Zealand

Feral cats (Felis catus) probably reached Little Barrier Island in about 1870. They contributed to the total extinction of the Little Barrier snipe (Coenocorypha aucklandica barrierensis), the local extinction of North Island saddleback (Philesturnus carunculatus rufusater) and the severe reduction in numbers of grey-faced petrel (Pterodroma macroptera gouldi), Cook’s petrel (P. cookii) and black petrel (Procellaria parkinsoni), plus the decline of lizard and tuatara species.

Sporadic cat control was carried out on Little Barrier from 1897 to 1977. A determined eradication attempt commenced in July 1977 was completed on 23 June 1980. Cage traps, leg-hold traps, dogs and 1080 poison were used, but leg-hold traps and 1080 poison were the only effective methods. Altogether, 151 cats were known to have been killed before the eradication was declared complete. Important lessons learnt can be transferred to other feral cat eradication programmes. The responses of the bird populations are described elsewhere (Girardet et. al. 2001).

Author Veitch, C. R.
Year 2001
Secondary title New Zealand Journal of Zoology
Volume 28
Pages 1-12
Region NZ